The Tampa Bay Rays have won seven games in the last three weeks (7-14 record). The Seattle Mariners have won fifteen games in as much time, despite batting a league worst .228 on the season. Seattle is riding some of the best pitching in the majors to low scoring wins, something the Rays try to do.
The Rays swing for power, but the scoring has been awfully low this season. Today is only the second time all season the Rays have lost after scoring more than five runs. Tampa strung together twelve hits on the night including six doubles. Six players had RBI's and four of them did so with two outs. In other words, the Rays were spreading the wealth. The blame falls on pitching, but even though Wade Davis allowed five runs with only four strikeouts this afternoon, the loss goes to the bullpen.
The eighth inning lead off with a Johnny Damon single. Ben Zobrist doubled him home and Matt Joyce doubled in Zorilla. Longo singled in Joyce and the Rays lead 6-5. The bullpen needed six outs to seal the deal. Instead, Adam Russell, J.P. Howell and Joel Peralta combined for one inning with four earned runs (three to Howell, who earned the loss) over six hits. Said Joe Maddon, "We played well and hit the ball well today... We just didn't get the pitching we are accustomed to."
The Rays travel down the west coast tomorrow and hope to reboot the pitching with David Price on the mound. Tampa Bay will face Tyler Chatwood and the Los Angeles Angels over Anaheim, or some like that. LAAA has won four of the last five games Chatwood started, including a 6-5 win at Tampa Bay. Things don't get easier from here.